About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

December 31, 2013

The End of an Era

It was born at the end of 2001.  It was greatly received as most everyone who experienced it loved it much better than many of its predecessors.  It entered our computing lives at that time and continued on in new computers into 2010.  It was supposed to disappear from our screens several years ago.  However, due to its popularity and the love of the masses it has lasted for all of this time.  However, the sad news is that it will officially RIP on the eleventh of April, 2014.   

What the heck am I talking about?  Give yourself a minute and guess before you look down.

I am referring to Windows XP.  Yes, as of April, 2014 it will no longer be supported by Microsoft.  It terms of computers 13 years is quite old.  I do not know how to convert it to human years for a comparison. But I can tell you that is a long, long time for an operating system to remain in operation.

Windows XP logo

I encourage you to not think badly of Microsoft for doing this to you.  All operating systems have had an end of life built into them, so this is nothing new.  For instance, Windows 7 support ends January, 2020 and Windows 8, "End of Extended Support" date is January, 2023.  They do not necessarily just do this for the money since software needs to be modernized on occasion in order to keep up with advances in technology.  Computers upgrade and have new features and components which the operating systems must be able to use efficiently so they fade away. 

What does this mean if you are still using Windows XP on your computer?   First, I would suggest that you should have changed to Windows 7 a while back.  If not it will now be easiest to get Windows 8.  Seven is still available in very limited places.  Many new computer manufacturers have downgrade rights which allow you to roll back to Windows 7 Pro.  You need to investigate if that is what you want before a new computer purchase.  Next it means that even if you are running the latest security updates of your antivirus software you could still get viruses.  Windows itself updates to fight viruses but since it will be out of support it will update no more.  You could also be at a security disadvantage if you use MS Internet Explorer as your browser since the newest versions will not run on XP.   

In my opinion one of the worst things to happen to XP lovers who have not upgraded to Windows 7 is Windows 8.  The change from XP to Seven was significant but you could figure it out fairly quickly.  However, the differences in the GUI (Graphical User Interface or the way it looks and operates) is MAJOR from XP to Eight.  You will be lost for quite a while if you skipped Windows 7.

Windows 7 & 8 logo I do not believe the end of extended support will change for XP but these dates are not in stone.  XP has already been extended several times.  Vista was only supported from 2007 through 2011 so you do not always get a long time span. 

I have recently installed Windows 8.1 on one of my computers so next year you will start hearing more about it…until at least 2023.  

August 14, 2012

July 26, 2011

God Mode

The column that was censored.

If you are one of my regular readers you realize that this column was not in the DNR today.  They contacted me before press time and said that they thought it was too advanced and could cause people to mess up their computers. 

All of these commands are available in the Control Panel anyway, the “God Mode” just allows you to access them in an easier more organized way.

So read on and give it a try if you like.


So here it is for you anyway.  Have fun with it…and don’t mess up your systems.

Microsoft has a great way, or at least traditional way from back in the beginnings of Windows to adjust your computers’ settings.  That way is named, the "Control Panel."  However, there is another way to access the Control Panel information and others more difficult to find.  This is called the "God Mode" and was also available in Windows Vista if you knew how to access that neat feature.

Windows 7  alleged, "God Mode" is actually a shortcut to accessing the operating system’s various control settings.  Reports vary as to how it works for Windows Vista.  The 32-bit version usually works and the 64-bit version does not.   However, I have never tried it in Vista so I cannot comment about personal experiences there.

The term "God Mode" comes from long ago in the history of video games. A player could use different "cheat codes" in a game to gain an unfair advantage over other players.  God Mode meant that the player could not be killed even without having earned available weapons.

First, to set up God Mode in Windows 7 (and Vista if you would like to try) is very easy.  (Click the screenshots at the end.)

  1. Copy the following text (without the quotes), "God-Mode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}".
  2. Next, create a new folder and name it by pasting in the text copied in step #1.
    1. If you wish to try it on your desktop all you need to do is right-click on your desktop wallpaper and choose, "New."  Then select "Folder" from the drop down list.

You will now have a folder with an icon for the Control Panel wherever you created the God-Mode.  By the way, if you wish to name it something else, just substitute the "God-Mode" at the beginning of the text with something like, "Total Control".

Once created all you do is double click on the new icon/folder and you will have access to 46 categories (from Action Center to Windows Update) which include (at this time) 282 items you may choose to adjust.  Be cautious since some of them bring about major change while others will hardly be noticed.  You can do simple things like adjusting your mouse or much more complicated procedures.  Proceed with those advanced features at your own risk.

There are other settings you can set up which are similar to this, "Trouble Shooting.{C58C4893-3BE0-4B45-ABB5-A63E4B8C8651}".  This is included in the God Mode.  Have fun, you bunch of newbie hackers.


February 26, 2011

Get Windows Explorer to display Drive Letters First

This is something that bothered me, ever so slightly for a while, but still I wanted to find a “fix” to, so today here it is.  I have successfully tested this with Windows Vista and 7.

Default setting with letters after drive descriptionHere is what your explorer view looks like with the default settings.

To display drive-letters first, followed by the drive description, use these steps.

You will need to “perform” a REGEDIT on your system.  If you are not familiar with a Regedit be careful!  If done wrong it could be detrimental to the life of your computer.  .

  1. On your computer
  2. First click the Start button
  3. Type Regedit.
  4. Navigate to the following location
  5. If it doesn’t already exist, create a REG_DWORD value named ShowDriveLettersFirst.  If it does exist just double click it and go to the next step.
    1. Double-click ShowDriveLettersFirst and set its Value data to 4
    2. See the screenshot below to see what it should look like

Regedit, when at the correct location with Value set

Drive letters shown firstClose the Registry Editor by clicking the “X” in the upper right corner.  Whatever you have entered will be automatically saved.

Next, open “My Computer” to see your drives.  If they do not show the letter in front of the name of the drive press the “F5” key to refresh the window and there you go.

If it doesn’t work you mistyped something of didn’t follow the directions correctly.  And DO NOT email me as you were warned earlier (above in red) that you could hose your system with Regedit.

Here are the other possible edits for ShowDriveLettersFirst registry value.


What it does


Show network drive letters before description, and local drive letters after description.


Show drive letters after description (default)


No drive letter is displayed


Do not use, this is not an available value


Show drive letters before description

Good luck and let me know it worked for you.

February 22, 2011

March 9, 2010

Windows 7 Thoughts

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , — Ron @ 6:46 am

I have been written to by several of the "Double Click" readers as to why I have not mentioned Microsoft Windows 7 very often.  The answer is that there are about 50 bazillion other geeks out there, who have written about it relentlessly since it rolled out to the public in October, 2009.  I figured I would let the clamor die down some before I started.

Today I come out of hiding with W7 (get used to the abbreviation, it saves column space). 

I will start with the question that I usually get first. "Do you use W7, yet?"  Yes, I do, everywhere!  I have been testing the pre-launch versions of W7 for about a year now.  I have been using the final version since it launched. 

Check out W7 at MicrosoftAll of my computers run this new Operating System (OS) including my wife’s notebook, save one.  I still run Vista on my home desktop because that computer has more software and data on it than any of the others.  Rebuilding that particular machine will take several days to get "just right". Procrastination wins! 

The next most common question I get is, "Should I switch to W7?"  That really depends on you.  If you are not happy with your current OS (Vista?) and you have the extra money, sure go ahead and make the change.  If you do not have any complaints, why fix it if it ain’t broke? 

That being said, I will as good as guarantee that if you do go to W7 you will like it.  It looks similar to Vista. However, it is much faster since it uses less system resources.  It has many very positive features that you will like.

When conversing about W7 the next question usually is, "What do you like best about the OS?"  My wise guy answer is, "Everything."  However, the primary element I enjoy was also present in Vista; though, it did not function nearly as well…the search feature.

Say for instance I want to run Excel.  I can click the orb (used to be called the start button when it was rectangular) or press the Windows key on my keyboard and just type, "excel".  A menu list is generated with everything on my computer that has "excel" in it.  The Excel program is at the top of the list.  All I do is press the Enter key and Excel starts right up. 

If I know that I have a file with the words, "Windows 7" in it.  I just type it, like I just did, and three files are listed.  Three columns which I wrote; one each in April and June of 2009 and the one you are reading now.

That is a great, efficient and very speedy way to work.  So thanks, Microsoft, for that as well as the additional features we will be talking about in the future.

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